At the Diner on 22nd Street and 2nd Ave in Manhattan

After a two-hour ride that should have only taken less than an hour into Manhattan, I parked the car and started to walk. It felt good to be in the city again. It felt like I hadn’t been there in a long time.

After strolling around, I decided to stop at the diner on 22nd Street and 2nd Avenue in Manhattan. It looked like every other diner. Nothing special. Just an “ordinary” diner.

Diner at 22nd and 2nd

As I entered the diner, there was a woman in front of me. She was obviously homeless and ranting things that I could barely understand.

“I want to sleep here tonight,” she told the manager, “I want to stay here the rest of the day and then sleep here, is that okay?”

“No, it’s not okay,” the manager told her.

“It’s not okay?” she said. I was getting a little nervous at this point because she turned around and looked at me. “Don’t eat here!” she screamed.

As she left, she was screaming at the top of her lungs, “DON’T EAT HERE, DON’T EAT HERE!”

Even after the doors closed, I could still hear her out there screaming.

The manager sat me down at a booth.

He gave me the menus and I ordered comfort food. I needed it at that time. The manager came back a few moments later with my bowel of split pea soup. As I was slurping on the slip pea, an older man walked in and started to scream at the manager, “I WANT TO EAT OUTSIDE… OUTSIDE….” he said.

I shook my head. What’s going on here.

The manager seated him as well and then came to my table. He too started to yell and scream and was talking with me in a very thick Eastern European accent. I could barely understand him. I heard things like, “NYC is going to hell,” “the Mayor here is…” and “President Biden is…” But I really had no idea what he was talking about. All I saw was his lips move and all I heard was his thick accent. Was he talking in English?

I started to feel uncomfortable but looked at him as if I were concerned.

All I could say was, “yeah, 22nd and 2nd avenue is a rough corner.” I didn’t know what else to say.

Strange things happen all the time. But on that day, nothing phased me. I walked back to the garage, got in my car, and drove back to Long Island.